Military skill recognition

Australian Defence Force (ADF) members can have their military skills recognised through a national qualification as part of their transition to the civilian workforce.

ADF Transition and Civil Recognition provides transitioning members, and recently transitioned, the opportunity to have skills recognised through recognition of prior learning (RPL), and accredited where possible.

Recognition of prior learning

Skills, knowledge and experience can be formally recognised through a process called RPL, which validates skills against nationally accredited units of competency to award a full qualification or a statement of attainment.

Evidence is measured against the units of competency in a qualification, and must meet the following criteria.

  • Evidence is current and relevant to the qualification sought (within the last 2 years).
  • Evidence demonstrates the candidate’s skills, knowledge and performance.
  • Where required, the candidate’s contribution to projects, such as audits, is specified. 

Evidence of existing skills and experience must be provided when applying for RPL. Evidence is assessed to determine if the candidate meets a qualification's requirements by professionals who understand Defence training and skills. 

RPL is at no cost to transitioning ADF members.

Technical or trade qualifications are not covered under RPL. ADF Transition and Civil Recognition provides a process for members to have trade qualifications recognised via Training Systems NSW.

Applications for RPL can be emailed to, including full name and PMKeyS number.

Registered training organisations

RPL is offered by registered training organisations (RTOs).

The Defence registered training organisation (DRTO):

  • issues qualifications on behalf of ADF Transition and Civil Recognition
  • is an enterprise RTO (DRTO reference number 0442)
  • is only accessible to Defence members and employees, and operates to national regulatory and Defence policy standards. 

All RTOs are accountable to the same National Framework, and the cost for services vary between RTOs. Members can choose to engage with any nationally recognised RTO at own cost.

Training and skills guides

The ADF training and skills guides explain the skills acquired during military service in civilian language.

The guides assist with developing a resume or writing a job application by matching military skills with civilian work opportunities, providing:

  • information about the responsibilities and tasks undertaken during military service
  • alignment of training and skills to military rank
  • translation of military language into civilian language
  • examples of civilian language for writing a CV, résumé, or an application.

The guides are grouped by the equivalent military rank from each service area: N = Navy rank, A = Army rank, AF = Air Force rank.

Seaman (N), Private (A), Aircraftman/Aircraftwoman (AF) (PDF, 1.15 MB)

Able Seaman (N), Lance Corporal/Lance Bombardier (A), Leading Aircraftman/Leading Aircraftwoman (AF) (PDF, 1.16 MB)

Leading Seaman (N), Corporal/Bombardier (A), Corporal (AF) (PDF, 1.16 MB)

Petty Officer (N), Sergeant (A), Sergeant (AF) (PDF, 1.16 MB)

Chief Petty Officer (N), Warrant Officer Class 2 (A), Flight Sergeant (AF) (PDF, 1.16 MB)

Warrant Officer (N), Warrant Officer Class 1 (A), Warrant Officer (AF) (PDF, 1.16 MB)

Acting Sub Lieutenant (N), 2nd Lieutenant (A), Pilot Officer (AF) (PDF, 1.18 MB)

Sub Lieutenant (N), Lieutenant (A), Flying Officer (AF) (PDF, 1.19 MB)

Lieutenant (N), Captain (A), Flight Lieutenant (AF) (PDF, 1.19 MB)

Lieutenant Commander (N), Major (A), Squadron Leader (AF) (PDF, 1.19 MB)

Commander (N), Lieutenant Colonel (A), Wing Commander (AF) (PDF, 1.19 MB)

Captain (N), Colonel (A), Group Captain (AF) (PDF, 1.19 MB)

Transferable skills scenarios 

Veterans talk about the transition experience and the transferable skills gained through service. Watch the 3 scenarios to learn more. 

Susan James | Air Force

John Howarth | Army

Rob Smith | Navy


Australian Qualification Framework Levels (PDF, 506.6 KB) Business & Government Qualifications (PDF, 500.71 KB) How to Use a Qualification (PDF, 497.92 KB) Pathways Into Higher Education (PDF, 493.08 KB) Understanding WHS Qualifications (PDF, 498.57 KB) Work Level Standards (PDF, 524.58 KB)